Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Funko Universe – Caleb Goellner

4 out of 5

The random trends that we somehow encourage are so oddball, I have to wonder sometimes if it’s not just a perpetual wag the dog situation, wherein a money-maker somewheres – in this case the big-headed cartoony plastic toymakers Funko and IDW comics – decide that something is “popular,” then shove it in our face, proclaiming it’s what we want, and we shrug and suppose it must be so.  So when there are special Funko-ized one-shot versions of our preferred comic, we shake our heads at that pesky trend but open our wallets anyway.

Thankfully, this completely cynical take on consumerism seems to be echoed by this one-shot’s writer, Caleb Goellner, who riddles the story with self-aware jabs at its own silliness, making it a tasty pill to swallow.  Supporting this is that the Funko characters are based on the Archie/Fred Wolf template, meaning we get the especially ridiculous version of Shredder, Krang and the gang, already ripe for being pointed and laughed at.  Top this with a ripped-from-(Archie-)show goofy plot of Mikey inciting the gang to help him procure a decoder ring he was shorted in a box of ‘Shreddies’ – which just happens to be the mind-control cereal Shredhead is peddling – and we’re all set for something that can’t possibly take itself anything close to seriously.  Artist Nicolas Peña’s well-timed comedy and admittedly smart framing, given the blocky characters, plus Ronda Pattison’s wonderfully bright colors all add up to make this a heck of a lot more entertaining than it provably should be.  And, like, laugh out loud funny at points?

While I can’t quite bring myself to give it five stars out of principle, IDW takes an odd Funko-crossover opportunity to take the chains off the TMNT and let some talented creators get as jiggy with it as they want.  Which they do, to a surprisingly very entertaining extent.